CHURCHILL, Sir WINSTON (1874-1965, statesman, Prime Minister, war leader, and author)
This is an extremely good oil copy of the the most famous portrait of Churchill and one of the most widely reproduced portraits in the history of photography. It is a desideratum for the library of a significant Churchill collector.
In 1941 Churchill had just addressed the Canadian Parliament and Karsh was there to photograph him. In Faces of Our Time (1971), Karsh recalled: 'He was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all he would allow me as he passed from the House of Commons chamber to the anteroom. Two niggardly minutes in which I must try to put on film a man who had already written or inspired a library of books, baffled all his biographers, filled the world with his fame, and me, on this occasion, with dread.' Churchill marched into the room scowling, 'regarding my camera as he might the German enemy.' His expression suited Karsh perfectly, but the cigar stuck between his teeth seemed incompatible with the occasion. 'Instinctively I removed the cigar. At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger.' The image captured Churchill and the England of the time perfectly - defiant and unconquerable. Churchill later said to Karsh: 'You can even make a roaring lion stand to be photographed.'
Elsie Barling, teacher and painter, was born in Newnham, Gloucestershire. She taught at Queen Bertha's School, Birchington, and Bryanston School and was said to be an inspired teacher. Her main influence was Frances Hodgkins. A memorial exhibition of her work was shown at the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, in 1977.